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Allan Timmermann

1 April 2001
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 58
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Abstract
Markow switching models with time-varying means, variances and mixing weights are applied to characterise business cycle variation in the probability distribution and higher order moments of stock returns. This allows us to provide a comprehensive characterization of risk that goes well beyond the mean and variance of returns. Several mixture models with different specifications of the state transition are compared and we propose a new mixture of Gaussian and student-t distributions that captures outliers in returns. The models produce very similar expected returns and volatilities but imply very different time series for conditional skewness, kurtosis and predictive density. Consistent with economic theory, the gains in predictive accuracy from considering two-state mixture models rather than a single-state specification are higher for small firms than for large firms.
JEL Code
C22 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models &bull Diffusion Processes
C52 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
8 December 2010
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1277
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Abstract
In this paper, we explore the potential gains from alternative combinations of the surveyed forecasts in the ECB Survey of Professional Forecasters. Our analysis encompasses a variety of methods including statistical combinations based on principal components analysis and trimmed means, performance-based weighting, least squares estimates of optimal weights as well as Bayesian shrinkage. We provide a pseudo real-time out-of-sample performance evaluation of these alternative combinations and check the sensitivity of the results to possible data-snooping bias. The latter robustness check is also informed using a novel real time meta selection procedure which is not subject to the data-snooping critique. For GDP growth and the unemployment rate, only few of the forecast combination schemes are able to outperform the simple equal-weighted average forecast. Conversely, for the inflation rate there is stronger evidence that more refined combinations can lead to improvement over this benchmark. In particular, for this variable, the relative improvement appears significant even controlling for data snooping bias.
JEL Code
C22 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models &bull Diffusion Processes
C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods